Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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JOHNSON, John Milton, physician, born in Smithland, Livingston County, Kentucky, 15 January, 1812; died in Atlanta, Georgia, 18 May, 1886. His ancestor, Thomas, came to this country in 1700. After receiving an education from his father and from a physician of Madisonville, Kentucky, he began the practice of medicine in 1833. His success in treating an epidemic in western Kentucky that was known as the "milk sickness," between 1840 and 1845, brought him into notice, and his notes upon this disease and its causes were republished in the London "Lancet" and other medical journals. In 1861 he entered the Confederate army, and in 1862 was surgeon of the post at Atlanta, Georgia Afterward he was medical director for General Hardee's division, and served in all of General Bragg's engagements. After the close of the civil war he settled in Atlanta, where he practised his profession until his death. He was president of the Atlanta academy of medicine in 1875, and from 1868 till 1872 taught physiology and pathological anatomy in Atlanta medical college. He has published numerous medical papers.--His brother, Richard W., soldier, born near Smithland, Livingston County, Kentucky, 7 February, 1827, was graduated at the United States military academy in 1849, and assigned to the 6th infantry. He soon joined the 1st infantry, and in March, 1855, was transferred to the cavalry, in which he was quartermaster until December, 1856, when he was made captain and served against the Indians on the Texan frontier. He became lieutenant-colonel of the 3d Kentucky cavalry (National) on 28 August, 1861, and on 11 October, 1861, was made brigadier-general of volunteers and assigned to a brigade in General Buell's army, engaging in the. movement to Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, and also serving in Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky. He was present at the siege of Corinth on 28 May, 1862, and routed a Confederate force in his front. In July, 1862, he commanded a division of the Army of the Ohio, in the Tennessee campaign. He was taken prisoner at Gallatin, Tennessee, on 21 August, by a greatly superior force under Morgan, and after his exchange in December was placed in command of the 12th division of the Army of the Cumberland. He was at Stone River, Chickamauga, and Missionary Ridge, and in the Atlanta campaign, being engaged in all the battles in the line of march from Nashville to New Hope Church, near Atlanta, where he was severely wounded, 28 May, 1864. He subsequently commanded a division of cavalry at the battle of Nashville, was brevetted brigadier-general, United States army, for gallant and meritorious services, 13 March, 1865, and also major-general for his services in the field during the war. He remained on the staff of General George H. Thomas, as provost-marshal and judge-advocate of the military division of the Tennessee, serving till 1866, when he was mustered out of volunteer service. He was retired with the rank of brigadier-general on 12 October, 1867. He was military professor in the University of Missouri in 1868-'9, and in the University of Minnesota in 1869-'70. In 1881 he was the Democratic nominee for governor of Minnesota. He is the author of a "Life of General George H. Thomas" (Philadelphia, 1881), and "A Soldier's Reminiscences" (1886).
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